Over the last two days we have received telephone calls which indicate that Scott's mom is in her final days. I do not think Darlene was ever very fond of me, and I think overall I'm pretty unpopular with her daughters, but I'm still a bit nostalgic.
Joyce, Darlene's youngest, sent Scott a journal entry she found in one of their mother's notebooks. It seems the best sort of eulogy a person could wish for.
I knew very little about Darlene, I met her just a handful of years before her last husband died. She was still walking at the time, but with a cane for longer trips. She had stopped driving at this point. She had already been diagnosed with MS for several years at that point. She was an avid painter and loved all kinds of crafts, before her vision took this away from her. She loved books and listened to hundreds on tape once she could no longer see to read them.
In 2002, a little over a year after her husbands death, she agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to move to Minnesota from Missouri, as three of her four children lived here. I got to know her a little better at family gatherings and weekly visits to her apartment in the assisted living facility, and was struck with her kindness. She did not strike me as a lover of children, her grandchildren did not seem to hold much interest to her, other than a topic of conversation with her new friends at the facility. But she seemed kind, forgiving, and if she treated me with a reserve that saddened me, it was not a harsh one. She was always happy to see her "Scottie" come to visit, and was always sweet to him. Although she was clearly unhappy at all the various health facilities she has lived in these past 7 years, she did always seem to look for the silver lining in things.
A family rift occured when her mother was moved here from Texas in 2007, and I haven't seen Darlene since that Christmas. At the time I last saw her, her condition had stolen a good deal of her mental faculties, and it wasn't clear whether she knew us. She cut the visit short, asking to go back to the comfort of her room.
I am sorry for those years of pain she has suffered. Her life has not been an easy one, and the last 5 years or so have been, I think, particularly hard on her. I am happy that she is about to get a new body in a new place, and if there is any mercy that is what is next for her.
Here are some excerpts from her journal:
My Most Loved People and My Favorite Things
God the Father
Jesus the Son
My husband, Joe
My mother, Evelyn
Memories of my father, Lloyd
Gary (her younger brother)
Kristie (his daughter)
Jean and Weaver
Yandell and Kathleen
United Methodist Church of the Shepherd
Mom's 80th Birthday Party
Visits to El Paso
Visits from my mom
Visits from my children
Sounds and smells
Going to Church
Smell of bar-b-que
"Let's Eat Out"
"The Old Rugged Cross"
"And God Cried"
"Crown Him king"
"Were You There"
A smile from a stranger
A touch from a friend
A hug from a child
Baby smiles and giggles
Paintings (oil) by Thomas Kincaid
Snow on Pine trees
Sunshinning on Snow
The first snowfall
the smell of rain
the smell after the rain
Spring- the flowers, the smell, birds singing
Fall the colors, the crisp air
the sound of flying geese
with oil, acrylic, ultragloss
watching ice skaters
hot fudge sundae
Dogs, Spotty, Herman, Barney, Misty, Mindy, Rusty, Schatzie, Amity
The smell of
Cakes or cookies baking
flowers- roses, gardenias
Fresh cut grass
On the phone, "Hi Grandma, this is Connor, Do you remember me?
Kendall, "My hand is all sprinkly" (it was asleep)
My mom said, "Kendall, put it in the ice box."
Kendall whispered, "Grandma, what is an ice box?"
Brenda said, "Connor, stop stepping in all the puddles"
Connor said, "I'm walking on the water like Jesus did."
Billy said after falling into the deep end of the swimming pool. "I thought I was a goner. My mom jumped in and saved my life. Whew"
Kendall, "I keep pushing the numbers on this phone but nothing happens" It was an old rotary dial.
Peter after observing adults at a party, walked up to a stranger and said "Hi! I'm Peter and this is my friend, Monte."
After Joe lost all his hair from Chemo. Connor came over. Joe said, "Do you want me to take off my cap?" Connor after a long pause said, "Er-ah no thank you."
Kendall asked, "Grandma, when you were a little girl did people wear clothes?" Was she thinking of Adam and Eve or cavemen?
Love God above all
Love one another
Find something good in every person
Look for the silver lining
Find something good whenever possible.